Sizzling Starworks grab pole for Daytona 24
THE PLOT: Ryan Dalziel threw down the gauntlet to the Grand-Am big guns by powering the new Starworks Motorsport Ford-Riley to a sensational pole position for Saturday’s 50th running of the Grand-Am Rolex Daytona 24.
Orlando-based Dalziel, originally from Lanarkshire in Scotland, clocked a stunning 1min 41.119 to take top spot at the Florida track. ""“It wasn’t unexpected that we would be good.|Ryan Dalziel|left"
He will share the #8 car with regular Starworks drivers Enzo Potolicchio and Alex Popow, from Venezuela, double Le Mans 24-hour winner Allan McNish, from Dumfries, Scotland, and current FIA GT1 world champ Lucas Luhr, from Germany.
The result for the Fort Lauderdale-based team was even more amazing given that they missed the whole of the first practice session with an engine problem, but were soon on the pace.
THE QUOTES: Pole-setting driver RYAN DALZIEL: “It wasn’t unexpected that we would be good, we just didn’t think we would be on pole. We had some issues in the first practice session – we missed all of that with a motor change, but we were really strong in the second practice.
“Then I just threw one down for qualifying. I am absolutely delighted with it and really happy for the team. They have worked very hard for this. We came here with a good idea of what to expect but for everything to come together so perfectly was definitely a surprise, but still I would say it was well-deserved.
“We spent a lot of time building the car so we are pretty confident that it will be reliable. For us, it is an added bonus to know that the car is fast. If it gets to a dog-fight at the end, then we should have a car that can win.”
Team owner PETER BARON: “The best thing about that pole position is that it takes a lot of the pressure off because we know we have a fast car. Now we just have to go out there are be smart.
“This was the result of perfect team-work – everything from how the guys put the car together to how our engineers worked together and all the testing we did. Even though it is a new car, and Bill Riley did a great job with it, we knew what ballpark we wanted to be in. We just needed to do some aero work and we went out and got pole. It was all about everyone working together.
“It is a great result for the team and reward for our engineer Steve Challis and all the Starworks crew.”
THE FACTS: Starworks Motorsport comes into the race on the back of a victory in the final round of the 2011 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car championship at Mid-Ohio. Ryan Dalziel and Enzo Potolicchio were the drivers that day.